What are air source heat pumps? A Simple Guide | Linquip (2023)

Scientists and inventors are constantly trying to find more environmentally friendly ways to heat our homes. Boilers are becoming more energy efficient almost every year, but they are no longer necessarily the best way to run a central heating system. Air source pumps serve as an alternative way to heat your home and could be the ideal solution if you are looking to generate your heat and potentially save money on your energy bills. In this article, Linquip will provide a complete answer to the question: "What are air source heat pumps?“. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of air source heat pumps so you can decide if purchasing one is the right decision for you.

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(Video) Introduction to Air Source Heat Pumps

What are air source heat pumps?

Air source heat pumps (ASHPs) are a type of renewable energy technology that captures heat from the outside air to heat your home and hot water. They can still extract heat even at air temperatures as low as -15 °C.

Air source heat pumps require electricity to operate, but because they extract renewable heat from the environment, the heat output is greater than the power consumption. This makes them an energy efficient way to heat your home.

What are air source heat pumps? A Simple Guide | Linquip (1)

How do air source heat pumps work?

The process by which an air source heat pump works is described below.

  • The device absorbs heat from the air into a liquid refrigerant
  • This liquid is converted into gas
  • Using electricity, the pump compresses and heats this gas
  • This heat is transferred to your home's heating system, your radiators, underfloor heating or convection heaters, and hot water
  • Eventually, as heat is transferred, the gas condenses back into a liquid and the cycle begins again

Different types of air source heat pumps

  • Air to water heat pumps
  • Air to Air Heat Pumps

There are two main types of air source heat pumps, which are explained below.

  • Air to water heat pumps

Air to water heat pumps extract heat from the outside air and transfer it to a water-based system. The heat generated can be used for space heating or for hot water supply in the house. Air to water heat pumps are among the most efficient air heat pumps on the market.

This type of heat pump works best in temperate climates. The efficiency of an air/water heat pump is best at 7°C, in contrast to dry and cold locations where outside temperatures drop below -20°C. Considering the working principles of an air to water heat pump, the temperature drop will affect the operating efficiency.

  • Air to Air Heat Pumps

Air-to-air heat pumps draw in outside air, which then passes it through a compressor, which extracts the heat from the air before pumping it around the home for heating. This technology can also be reversed to cool the home during the summer months. It uses the principles of vapor compression cooling to absorb heat in one place and release it in another.

Air to air heat pumps are considered to be the most efficient in terms of thermal energy output per kWh of electricity they consume. To measure the efficiency of a heat pump, a specific yield indicator called COP is used. An air-to-air heat pump can generate up to 4.5 times as much energy as it consumes.

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The cost of air source heat pumps

The cost of installing an air source heat pump ranges from around £7,000 to £9,000, while running costs are a small fraction of your current heating bill. However, actual heating cost savings will vary depending on the size of your home, how well it is insulated, what type of fuel you previously used and how old your boiler is.

(Video) This is Why Heat Pumps May NOT Be The Future

Several factors can affect the price of a new heat pump, including the weather where the home is located and any costs associated with the installation.Mitsubishi air heat pump pricesrange from $1,405 to $3,390 for the unit only. With installation, the cost can range from $3,500 to $5,890.

Advantages of air source heat pumps

ASHP has some advantages which are as follows.

  • Reduced energy costs

Air source heat pumps are highly efficient heating systems that have the potential to reduce your energy bills depending on your current heating system.

  • Earn money with RHI

The renewable heat incentive that is part of aGrants air heat pump 2020,pays homeowners who have invested in renewable technologies. You could be paid quarterly over 7 years which could potentially recoup you the initial cost. It is worth noting that only air-to-water heat pumps are eligible, not air-to-air heat pumps, and the program ends in March 2021.

  • Green heating solution

Unlike gas boilers, an air source heat pump does not produce any carbon when operating. It uses a small amount of electricity to run, but this can be further reduced by installing solar panels to keep it running on clean electricity. Switching to a renewable energy provider should also be considered.

  • In operation all year round

Thanks to many models that can operate at very low temperatures, you can use your air/water heat pump all year round. In summer, an air-to-air heat pump can be used to circulate cold air through the house to cool everyone down.

  • Easy to maintain

Heat pumps are often referred to as “install-and-forget” technology because they require very little maintenance and can heat your home on their own. It is recommended to have the device serviced annually to ensure it is working well.

  • Long lifetime

The operating life of an air source heat pump varies depending on the model installed, but many can last up to 20 years, and some even up to 25 years.

Disadvantages of air source heat pumps

While an air source heat pump could save you a large amount of money each year through reduced energy bills, there are downsides to air source heat pumps that need to be considered.

(Video) How I fitted an Air Source Heat Pump ASHP: Samsung Gen6 5kW

  • Retrofitting can be difficult

Depending on the nature of your property, it can be difficult to install an air source heat pump system without major modifications that can be costly and disruptive. Some objects such as apartments that do not have outdoor space or space for a hot water tank are not suitable for air source heat pumps.

  • operating noise

Air source heat pumps can make noise during operation, but it has to be said that this is not generally seen as a problem by homeowners who live with heat pumps. If you are concerned about potential noise issues, your installer should be able to install the heat pump away from your main living areas and bedroom.

  • Costs more to run than an A boiler

Air source heat pumps consume little electricity, but electricity is 3-4 times more expensive than gas per unit. If you have an A boiler that's working well, replacing it with an air source heat pump could actually increase your energy bills.

  • Reduced efficiency in winter

The colder the air outside, the harder the heat pump has to work to extract heat. Because of this, heat pumps use more electricity in winter and are less efficient.

  • The house must be well insulated

Because air source heat pumps produce hot water at a lower temperature than boilers, the building needs to be well insulated to make it an efficient system.

  • New radiators or underfloor heating may be required

The lower water temperature also means that many homes will need to install larger radiators or underfloor heating to increase the surface area of ​​the heat dissipation system.

  • Requires outdoor space

You need outdoor space for thatheat pumpitself, including adequate space around the unit to ensure it has adequate airflow. You will also need space for a large hot water tank in the house. If the outdoor unit is placed in a place where it gets a lot of sunlight, the ASHP doesn't have to work as hard.

Now you know the answer to the question: "What are air source heat pumps?“. If you like this article in Linquip, let us know what you think by leaving a reply in the comment section. We look forward to your opinion on the article. Is there a question we can help you with? feel freeRegistrationon our website, where our experts are prepared to give you professional advice.

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What is air source heat pumps? ›

What is an air source heat pump? An air source heat pump, sometimes referred to as an air-to-water source heat pump, transfers heat from the outside air to water, which heats your rooms via radiators or underfloor heating. It can also heat water stored in a hot water cylinder for your hot taps, showers and baths.

What is heat pump in simple words? ›

Heat pumps transfer heat from one place to another by different air or heat sources. Air source heat pumps move heat between the air inside a home and the air outside a home, while ground source heat pumps (known as geothermal heat pumps) transfer heat between the air inside a home and the ground outside a home.

What are the pros and cons of an air source heat pump? ›

Overview: Pros and cons of air source heat pumps
Environmentally friendlyExpensive running costs
Low maintenanceExpensive upfront cost
Efficient modelsNot suitable for all properties
Eligible for various grantsRelies on electricity, which isn't always green
5 more rows
Oct 24, 2022

What are the two main types of air source heat pumps? ›

Types of Air Source Heat Pumps
  • Mini-Split Heat Pumps - Mini-split systems have one indoor unit and one outdoor unit. ...
  • Multi-Split Heat Pumps - Multi-split systems allow individual rooms to set different temperatures.
Oct 14, 2021

How do air source heat pumps work simple? ›

Sitting outside, the pump draws in air from outside, no matter the temperature. It passes the air into a liquid refrigerant, increasing the temperature and turning it into a gas. It's then pushed through a compressor and heated up, from where it transfers into your home's heating system.

What is the difference between air conditioning and air source heat pump? ›

A heat pump can heat and cool, but an air conditioner cannot, which is the primary difference between the two HVAC systems. An air conditioner is typically paired with a furnace to provide heat during the cold months. Together, an air conditioner and furnace are a complete heating and cooling system.

What is a heat pump and how does it work? ›

A heat pump uses technology similar to that found in a refrigerator or an air conditioner. It extracts heat1 from a source, such as the surrounding air, geothermal energy stored in the ground, or nearby sources of water or waste heat from a factory. It then amplifies and transfers the heat to where it is needed.

How does a heat pump work step by step? ›

STEP ONE: Located in the outdoor unit, the compressor intakes cool refrigerant gas and uses pressure to heat it. The compressor then pumps the hot, high-pressure gas into the condenser. STEP TWO: The condenser uses a fan to cool the gas into a liquid as it squeezes through coiled metal loops.

How do air source heat pumps work in winter? ›

A heat pump works by moving heat energy around. In the winter, it takes heat from outside your home and transfers it inside your home. In the summer, it reverses the process—it moves the heat energy from inside your home to the outside.

What is the problem with air source heat pumps? ›

Answer: Common air source heating problems include loss of heat production, lack of performance in freezing temperatures, noise, ineffectual location, and poor installation. These problems can be avoided by using a reputable installer.

Where is the best place to put an air source heat pump? ›

Almost always, we would recommend positioning the unit on the floor immediately outside your house or property. This has two large benefits: first, it reduces the amount of pipework you need in order for your air source heat pump to fully cater to your property, avoiding increased unnecessary heat loss.

Do air source heat pumps use a lot of electricity? ›

Air source heat pumps are one of the most efficient appliances on the market to heat your home. Traditional boilers run at around 92% efficiency from new. This means only 92% of the energy used by the boiler is turned into heat for your home.

Can any house have an air source heat pump? ›

Could you install a heat pump in your home? Many people think that you need a house with a garden or a fully insulated property to switch to a low carbon heat pump, but a recent research project has shown that all housing types – and ages – are in fact suitable for heat pumps.

How efficient is an air source heat pump? ›

An air source heat pump is around 300% efficient. This is because for every unit of energy it uses to extract heat from the air, it typically outputs over 3 units of heat energy into the property.

What are the main components of an air source heat pump? ›

Air source heat pumps systems consist of four major elements that allow the refrigerant to pass from the liquid state to the gas:
  • A compressor.
  • A condenser.
  • An expansion valve.
  • An evaporator.
Apr 19, 2022

What temperature Does air source heat pump run at? ›

HT heat pumps have been designed to operate at 80 degrees and so can heat standard radiators. Other advanced heat pumps operate up to 65 degrees and are also good candidates for existing heating systems.

What is the best air source heat pump? ›

What are the best air source heat pump brands?
  • Best overall: Samsung EHS Monobloc.
  • Most efficient: Hitachi Yutaki.
  • Most powerful: Vaillant flexoTHERM 400V + aroCOLLECT.
  • Best for cold climates: Daikin Altherma.
  • Best for small homes: Nibe F2040.
  • Best for combining other sources: Calorex.
  • Best for scalability: Danfoss.
Jan 4, 2023

Do you need a water heater with an air source heat pump? ›

A hot water tank is used to provide instant hot water for the home. As air source heat pumps work at lower temperatures, they are best suited to underfloor heating or low-temperature radiators. This is not to say these are necessary for an air source heat pump to work, but they will aid its efficiency.

Do air source heat pumps provide enough heat? ›

An important disadvantage to be aware of is that air source heat pumps have a lower heat supply than other alternatives. This means to get the most out of your ASHP, you need to have a well-insulated home and, ideally, underfloor heating, too.

Do air source heat pumps cool as well as heat? ›

An air-source heat pump can provide efficient heating and cooling for your home. When properly installed, an air-source heat pump can deliver up to three times more heat energy to a home than the electrical energy it consumes.

What is the main disadvantage of a heat pump? ›

Air source heat pumps can experience issues such as icing in cold temperatures, which can ultimately damage the system. Although modern heat pumps do often have automatic defrosting. Their efficiency will also be lower at very cold temperatures, and use more electricity during those cold days.

Do heat pumps work below freezing? ›

At temperatures below -20°F, cold climate heat pumps still provide dependable heat, and many models are 100% efficient at sub-freezing temperatures. Since they consume less electricity in moderate weather, ASHPs cost much less to operate than legacy systems like combustion furnaces and boilers.

Can heat pump replace air conditioner? ›

Absolutely! Despite its name, a heat pump is designed to cool your home as well as warm it during the winter. It's dual purpose. That means your heat pump can not only replace your air conditioner, but your furnace too.

What are the four stages of a heat pump? ›

There are four stages to the evaporation and compression cycle of a heat pump, through which a refrigerant is circulated.
This refrigerant acts as a medium, which transfers the heat from one stage to another.
  • Evaporator. ...
  • Compressor. ...
  • Condenser. ...
  • Expansion valve.

At what temperature does a heat pump stop working? ›

As soon as the outdoor temperature drops below 35 degrees Fahrenheit, the heat pump efficiency deteriorates. The system will strain to keep the home warm inside when the temperature outside falls below zero degrees Fahrenheit.

Does a heat pump replace a furnace? ›

Yes, heat pumps can replace furnaces (and air conditioners)! In fact, they're often used as an all-in-one HVAC solution because they provide heating, cooling, air filtering, and dehumidification for your home.

Do air source heat pumps freeze in winter? ›

Some air source heat pumps can begin to ice up during the winter, this is quite normal as the energy is taken out of the air the water vapour in the air freezes on contact with the cold surface.

What is the best temperature for a heat pump in winter? ›

The temperature you set your heat pump / air conditioner on can affect its performance and energy usage. We recommend that you set the heat pump / air conditioner temperature between 23-26 degrees (cooling) in summer and 18-21 degrees (heating) in winter.

Do air pumps freeze up in winter? ›

This happens when the pump generates heat, the refrigerant turns to gas and then condenses when it meets the outdoor coil. In winter temperatures, this condensation will freeze. That's why the pump also has a defrosting function.

Do air source heat pumps not work in cold weather? ›

Air source heat pumps usually lose efficiency as it gets colder, as they have to use more energy to draw warmth from the air. That's because these machines need to take in enough warmth to consistently heat up the refrigerant – a liquid with a very low boiling point – until it turns into a gas.

Why is my electric bill so high with air source heat pump? ›

Improper maintenance of your heat pump could lead to a 25 per cent increase in your energy bills. Blocked and dirty filters reduce the amount of airflow that can pass through the system and may harm performance. It's also worth checking the fan regularly to ensure there isn't any debris, such as leaves, stuck in it.

How long do air heat pumps last? ›

How Long Does a Heat Pump Last? Because heat pumps are often relied on year-round, they don't typically last quite as long as furnaces and air conditioners. Their average lifespan is about 10 to 15 years.

Do air source heat pumps need bigger pipes? ›

Heat pump pipes need to be larger than boiler pipes because the flow rate is higher for a given output. This will lead to a greater pressure loss through the pipework and fittings.

Can you put an air source heat pump in a garage? ›

The short answer is no – the heat pump needs fresh air to extract heat from – and it can't get this fresh air if it's closed up in your garage.

Can you run an air source heat pump off solar panels? ›

Can solar panels run air source heat pumps? Solar panels can power almost every appliance in your home. Yes, including your air source heat pump. Because your ASHP runs off electricity, it is absolutely possible to combine a solar panel and battery system with your ASHP.

Can air source heat pumps heat a large house? ›

Any air source heat pump system will struggle to make your home warm if the house is inefficiently insulated. So, you'll likely experience hot or cold areas. The single head Ductless Unit will easily heat a 1300 sq. ft in the winter and summer seasons if the home is well insulated and allows free movement of air.

What size air source heat pump do I need for my house? ›

Answer: Generally, the bigger the house the bigger the heat pump. Depending on heat loss, property age, and room types, a 100 sq m house may need a 4kW ground source heat pump or a 5kW air source heat pump. This doubles to 8kW or 10kW respectively for 200 sq m houses.

What are the disadvantages of an air source heat pump? ›

These are the main air source heat pump disadvantages:
  • Lower Heat Supply than Boilers. ...
  • Extra Spending to Install Underfloor Heating. ...
  • Your Home Must Be Well-Insulated Already. ...
  • Lower Efficiency Below 0°C. ...
  • Lower Savings Compared to Low Price Mains Gas. ...
  • ASHPs Can Be Noisy.

Are air source heat pumps a good idea? ›

Not only do they offer low carbon heating for your home, they're reliable and last much longer than a gas boiler. Air source heat pumps do not tend to go wrong too often, and a good quality air source heat pump could last up to 20 years.


1. Air-Source Heat Pump - How it works
2. A guide to air source heat pumps - E.ON
(E.ON Energy UK)
3. Ben Fogle - Air source Heat pumps explained
(Mitsubishi Electric - Living Environmental Systems (UK))
4. Heat Pumps Explained - How Heat Pumps Work HVAC
(The Engineering Mindset)
5. What is an air source heat pump?
(Energy Saving Trust)
6. Air Source Heat Pump Buffer Tanks explained - Kingspan Albion Aerocyl


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